Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Pumpkin Girl

Here is the latest Freaky Little Thing, Honey Pumpkin. She hatched out of the largest Pumpkin in the patch and grew into this crazy haired Gothic Beauty, just in time for Halloween. She has a scary little Pumpkin head dolly too, I will post pics of him as soon as he's finished and they will both be listed in the Etsy shop later today. x

Tiny weeny eyes today

After I got the freelance (proper) work done yesterday, I stayed up until the wee small hours working on my website, with huge goose-feather snow falling outside. It was a beautiful sight from the bedroom window when I finally went to bed.

This morning the snow is all gone but I now have WEE SMALL EYES. Ow. Still haven't finished the website, don't really know what I'm doing, the programme is WYSIWYG but I can't help thinking that once published all sorts of glitches that I DON'T see will be what I get!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

deepest mid-winter

What on earth is going on with the weather? I always joke about our soggy Welsh climate but yesterday I was woken at 5am by the loudest crash of thunder I've ever heard, actually thought I'd gone deaf until all the car alarms went off in the street. Then it started hailing, it was incredibly loud on the roof and by the time I got up it had been snowing a while and totally white outside.

All day there was this mad cycle of hail, thunder, snow, rain...snow melts, hail, thunder etc... Insane, basically, it's not even November yet. We always hope for snow (the nice fluffy Xmas card variety, not yesterdays "Oww, that hurt pelting down stuff) for Christmas but usually don't see any til January.

The really annoying part is how dark the last few days have been. I finished a doll on Mondau but can't get any decent pictures of her. She's a Pumpkin Patch dweller and has a creepy little pumpkin dolly, so it would have been good to actually get her in the shop before the "Big H" on Friday. Oh well!

Sunday, October 26, 2008, diet, diet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lordy, I've made a fateful decision tonight after an unguarded glance in the mirror earlier...Tomorrow I DIET! I've decided to announce this for the public record (not that anyone ever reads this) and shame myself into action.

In my mind I still have my relatively svelte size 12 frame, only foolish ventures into the non-elasticated waist section of my wardrobe prove otherwise which is why I tend to stick to baggy and roomy clothing.

Working alone from home definitely has it's disadvantages. At first not having to wear make-up and coordinated outfits every day seems like a welcome release... then, one day (today) you realise that you are actually a size or two larger and have gotten used to your wan spotty complexion and raisins in uncooked dough eyes (I have deep set dark eyes and that with the pale skin kind of make mascara compulsory unless I want to look like a smiley face - this one :0(....

Will actually have to weigh myself tomorrow to see the real damage and go from there. Will post my progress in the days to come, wish me luck!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

halloween approaching fast..

Yeeeaaarrrgh.. Halloween is just a week away and I have sooooooo much to do BUT I am also inundated with freelance work (I mean HURRAY, as I will be able to afford to eat next month!) and can spare so little time for Freaky Little Things right now. I have frazzled myself a bit this last 10 days or so and decided to let myself wake up without the alarm for a treat this morning. Well, I say MORNING, I actually awoke at ten to midday and that was mainly due to my cat, Matilda, rolling over so that her fur was blocking up my nose and I sort of ran out of non-cat-filtered oxygen. She was a mit miffed as a force nine gale was blowing through the bedroom and my breath was keeping her warm.

Many cups of tea later and I'm just thinking about how much design work I still have to get through before I can indulge in a bit of FLT. I promised myself (and readers of the last FLT newsletter) that my website would be up and running by Halloween and that's one deadline I MUST keep. It may have to be in a slightly reduced format that I can add to later as there's still plenty to do.

I also have 3 dolls half finished that I wanted to go in the shop ages ago, a Witch, a Vampire and the Pirate I previewed a while back. The Witch and Vampire have completely gessoed and painted faces and hands, the Vampire even has painted boots and tights. The Pirate just needs his sword and hat, and maybe a battered Jolly Roger cape?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gingerbread dolls

Last week, whenever I had a spare moment I was tinkering about with the new doll idea that I've had. I was looking at Gingerbread Men in a cake shop window... cake shop windows always magnetically draw my eyes for some reason...and thought it would be nice to try and create a Freaky little Thing with that kind of simplicity. I also want to start some Matryoshka style dolls too, so the 2 ideas kind of welded together.

I produced a linocut over several nights (I am a wimp and keep cutting myself, that tends to put me off for a while) then tried printing it onto calico. The results were pretty much disasterous after all the effort doing the linocut! The only half decent print I got became the slightly larger doll/cushion at the back in the photo below. I backed her with some fluffy black polar fleece and coloured her with fabric paints and 3D paints. She looks just OK, some of the print area goes into the seams because I didn't leave enough space around the edge.

Attempt number 2 was to draw up the image in Illustrator (I could just have tidied up my original sketch but figured that I would eventually have to scan it and tidy it up again, so why not start as I mean to go on?) then transfer it to the calico using Image Maker. That is a bit time consuming and I had to go to the library to get photocopies as it's the toner that transfers and you don't get any from my ink jet printer. Sorry, geek tech stuff there! Anyway, one very sore finger from rubbing off the photocopy later and I got a really nice print on the calico. I coloured this up and like the shiny plasticy feel of the finished result, so backed her with polar fleece again and hey presto, the smaller doll at the front.

If only I had remembered to leave extra seam room at the edges she would be in the etsy shop right now! Later in the week I went and did more photcopies but the paper was different and wouldn't transfer to the cloth... aaaaarrrrgh! Hopefully, some time next week I will actually get one right! At least I have used the image to make some book marks, they will be in the shop later. It's so damn dark today the photos came out poo, so I will have to mock up a few images.

If I thought anyone ever read the blog I would ask for your comments on the new dolls!??!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

porcelain misfit

Here is a pic of a poor armless porcelain doll that I've just added to the Etsy shop as a craft supply. I bought her in a job lot of dolls and limbs about 6 years ago and have made fairies of all the rest. I kept meaning to make her some arms from polymer caly, but you know the way it goes! Anyway, she stands around on the shelf staring accusingly at me and I think she would be happier with someone who will put her to good use.

Got several freelance design projects on at the moment so no time for FLT unfortunately (on my lunch hour right now!) but I have started experimenting with a new type of "doll" inspired by Gingerbread men. Will show tomorrow hopefully. Bye!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

poor little soul

The poor little soul from the post below didn't sell, I don't know why, she is really quite sweet in her own startle-faced grumpy way. Obviously I stopped making this kind of doll years ago (actually, I only made a few from fleece as I always knew I wanted to paint the faces).

Anyway, I'm still convinced that there is someone who will love her out there, so she now lives in the esty shop, at a really low price, too. I am sorting through loads of stuff from my work space and starting a De-stash miscellany section in the shop, too.

I am such a hoarder and collect all sorts, thinking they will be needed for a craft project one day. Many, many days, no YEARS later and this stuff is STILL here! I think I will just look at everything realistically and get it photographed and listed on etsy.

In some ways I don't want to clutter up the shop with non-FLT stuff, but on the other hand my cat couldn't swing a mouse in here these days. Lordy!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

on ebay right now, finishes Monday

Just thought I'd mention that this sweet little dolly, one of my older creations from a few years back, spruced up and ready to find a new home, is up for auction on ebay right now,. Auction finishes Monday evening. You can find all my auctions by following the link on the left.

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New print

I've been freelancing all week so haven't had time for FLT, but finished messing with an old illustration earlier today and just listed it in the esty shop. It is available as an ACEO right now and will also be listed as a larger print some time next week.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Stiff upper lip, what?

Don't ask why I was reading the usually dire Daily Express yesterday, but I came across an article on the dying art of understatement. The day before they'd reported on a man who calmly went round to his neighbour's house and asked for help as he'd just cut his own arm off with a chain saw while pruning a tree. Said neighbour put the arm in a bag of frozen sausage rolls, as they calmly waited for the ambulance.

The article went on to recount various cases of sang-froid, which it describes as a great, but endangered British Virtue, ie: The Stiff Upper lip. My favourites were:

There's the story of Sir Thomas Blount, a traitor being executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered, who while seated "watching his own guts being extracted and burned, was asked if he would like a drink to steady him." His reputed reply was:"No, for I do not know where I should put it"

But my favourite has to be the unnamed British 2nd world war veteran Pilot, terribly scarred by a fire in his cockpit. He baled out into the sea, and while bobbing about his whisky flask slipped through his badly burned fingers: "At that point I was getting really pretty fed up"


One of George's spooky stories

Typing that about my anemia earlier, just reminded me of one of the stories my grandparents used to tell when I was little. We all lived in this same house, 3 generations and a couple of cousin's too most of the time. My Grandad, George, had loads of brothers and they used to call round a lot as did my Gran's family. They were very raucous and as kid's back in the early seventies, my brother, cousin's and I, all used to love "sneaking" into their living room and hiding under the table with our dog, Boo-boo, while they sat round into the night gossiping and telling tall tales. I'm sure they knew we were there.

We also used to share Boo-boo's dog biscuits, but that's another story...

AS evening fell, talk would start to turn ghostly, as the brother's took turns to outdo each other recounting tales of strange happenings and unexplained events. My favourite tales were about my Grandad's childhood, a time when the Hooson household was bursting with more children than it could hold or feed and so George decamped to live with his "Nain" Jones (pronounced like the number 9, that's Welsh for Grandma). Nain Jones was reputed to have eaten a piece of "green eagle" and it had given her "the eye" - Grandad used to say this in a very knowing voice and all the clan used to nod their heads this day, I have no idea what that meant, except obviously a great deal to them.

Anyhow, Nain Jones was someone well regarded in the village in those days, the early 1900's, people would come and ask her advice about all sorts. She could tell you what sex your unborn child would be, that sort of thing. Grandad was most intrigued by a frequent late night visitor, about whom his Nain was very tight lipped and secretive. He would lie restless in bed at night waiting for the furtive tap at the door and then hear his Nain tiptoe across the hallway and usher in this most private guest. If ever he asked the usually sunny Nain Jones about these nocturnal visitations she would scowl and tell him to mind his business.

All villages have a haunted house, of course, and Bagillt was no different. My Grandad had grown up with the schoolyard wisdom on Fanny Bwgan, an elderly resident of the village who seemed to have no immediate family in the area (always a cause for suspicion) and was reputed to be a Vampire, Witch or possibly a Ghoul, the exact nature of her supernatural inclinations always in dispute. All the children, along with many of the adults, avoided the end of the street where her dowdy old house stood. I have no recollection of the poor woman's real surname but I think Bwgan means either a ghost or a hobgoblin. When the cat would get riled and his tail would fluff up my gran would say he'd gone all "Bush bwgan" like he'd seen a ghost!

Anyway, Fanny Bwgan was a recluse, never seen in daylight, rarely ever seen beyond the gates of her own unkempt garden. She dressed in black mourning clothes, hooped skirts and such that must have been elegant in their Victorian heyday, but were now dusty, slightly frayed and torn. Her skin was deathly pale, luminous even - so went the breathless accounts of those few brave children who had dared to approach her house after sunset and spied her ghostly candlelit face at the window.

Eventually, one night curiosity got the better of him. George, mindfull of the "thick ear" his Nain had promised him if he should ever try to sneak down and spy on her mysterious sundown visitor, crept down the stairs, careful not to cause too many creaks on the incredibly vocal boards. He reached the bottom stair and sat, trying to subdue his noisy breathing, full of excitment and fear. He could barely hear the hushed voice of his Nain's companion, raspy and broken. His eyes could just make out a dark huddled shape in the firelight, sat with it's back to him. Nain Jones was busying herself with some vegetables and groceries that she was putting into a sackcloth bag, chatting all the while in colloquial Welsh to the attentive visitor. George, absorbed in the scene before him leaned forward from the shadow of the stairs, feeling a sudden chill as Nain looked up from the task, suddenly catching his eyes with her stare.

George froze and his heart sank as anger flashed in his Nain's eyes, but worse still was the look of utter horror on the face of the turning visitor, realising that they were being spied upon. The tiny creature shot up from it's chair and in a whirl of tattered black rags scuttled through the hallway and out through the door. He recalled that as the visitor shot past him he saw a look of panic on the ancient, wizzened bleached out face and realised that this person, was in fact, terrified of HIM.

My Grandfather had to face the anger of Nain Jones that night and there was an atmosphere between them for several days. George feared that she would send him back to his Mother's house where his brother's were already sleeping 3 to a bed. Beside he had always been Nain's favourite and was sorry to his bones that he had disappointed her. A few evenings later his Nain called him and said he must run an errand for her, to take a bag of groceries to an old friend. "You have met her already and you were very rude, you'll take her these provisions and your apology, I think you KNOW where she lives". George certainly did.

He knew that he must walk down the street and turn the corner, pass the waste ground and walk right up to the rusted gates of that neglected garden where so many of his classmates feared to tread. He would slam hard on the tarnished knocker and wait while the owner of the pale face in the upstairs window shuffled her way to the door - all the while lurid stories of her supposed evil playing in his head. George faced his fear that night and so, eventually, did Fanny Bwgan.

At first suspicious of the boy, she took the bag and slammed the door. When she had first become ill people were kind, they had come to the house, they had helped her all they could but as the years passed by and her health failed yet more the children had become her tormentors, always throwing stones at her window or trying to sneak into her garden. They told frightful, mean spirited tales about her... and now those same children had grown, and so had the tales, passed on from one generation to the next. No one remembered her before the illness when she had a blush to her cheeks and would walk in the sunlight smiling and chatting to her neighbours. Only one girl, the bold one, the one who told fortunes and claimed to "know" a person just by looking at them. She had walked right up to the door one day and calmly asked if Fanny was in need of anything. "I know the sunlight hurts your skin, I can fetch things for you" and so she had, for so many years that Fanny could not count them.

And so, that night my Grandad became Fanny Bwgan's delivery boy. The Vampire's Assistant, as he became known for a short time in the schoolyard - before a few bloody noses put a stop to that. Nain Jones had explained to him that the lonely old lady had a disease of the blood that meant her skin and eyes were very sensitive to light and that over the years she had developed a morbid fear of being seen in her deteriorating state. In her youth she had been proud of her beauty and the ravages of the disease had left her emotionally scarred. It seemed the villagers and their specter lived in fear of each other.

I suppose that's the route of my fascination with all things supernatural; passed down from Nain Jones to George, to my Mother and passed on to me. I think we all have the same instinct that there will always be a rational explanation, tinged by a whistful desire to be proved wrong. If only things that go bump in the night would turn out to be a little more elusive and ethereal than the badgers rummaging through the bin again.

feeling perky at last

Wow, the sun is out and I woke up feeling FINE today, the first morning that's happened in a few weeks. I have some kind of anemia, a very low iron content at the moment (well, looking on the bright side, at least I won't go rusty any time soon) and it is setting off wall to wall migraines, the last bout lasted 6 days, before that the longest bout was for 8 days about 3 weeks ago. Lucky I work from home and the freelance design work is quite quiet at the moment as I am not getting much done at all.

I miss working on my dolls and stuff for the shop but my eyes have not been up to it most of the time. Either blurred vision or big flashes of lightening just at the corner of my eyes. The ACEOs were supposed to be an afternoon's work but took the best part of a week.

But today is different, hurrah!!! It's beautiful outside, like a picture postcard Autumn day and all the fruit trees are kind of bowed with apples, huge pears and damsons. The birds are having a great time in the elderberry tree, splattering the garden with purple juice. I love this time of year.

Hhhhmmmm, anemia, no one can believe it as I eat healthily (PLUS chocolate and cakes of course)... kind of ironic for someone who makes little vampires. I am giving the evil's to a particular half finished dolly as I type this....